Driving with brain trauma: I will never drive again... - Headway


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Driving with brain trauma


I will never drive again, I have admitted that driving will kill me or others eventually.

I was in the same boat as many of you that write posts about driving. I required our car for work, shopping, etc. Now I have none of that.

I say that though we have just bought a high end mobility scooter for when I need to leave the house locally! The hills have killed John 1!!

I have now decided never to drive a car again. I have so many absence seizures, etc. from my TBI in 2012. I have had so many blows to my head in my life before this and did some awful and dangerous things for years in our cars.

I know it is for most of you your need for making a living but I look at driving with an advanced form of brain trauma as an horrific thing.

Sorry of this offends any of you, it is my own opinion!! My conscience would be tatters if I hit someone, etc. I could not live with myself!

Maybe this is the need for another form of care to protect us financially who may never drive again? I see it (in my off beat brain) as money worth it over injuries, even death.

The needs of most of us are ruined by the loss of driving not just for work. The problem is another money exercise for the system to pay and sort out?

What do you all think?

I also see that the DVLA are willing to give car and HGV licences back. I would have only received my car part of my licence. No trailers, etc. Just car only. I would check!!

I was told this as I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2014 before my brain damage diagnosis this year. My PTSD hid my brain trauma! Having PTSD resulted in my car only licence renewal. They do not know about my brain damage yet!!

Please be gentle and considerate with your replies. I have severe issues with negativity but would like to raise points every now and again. I have come across some really negative (me) reply posts in my few months on here.

All the best to you all and if you do drive be careful!!

33 Replies

We nowadays see driving as an essential part of daily life and, if prohibited, it's shocking suddenly facing the alternatives. I was lucky not to have developed seizures and only prohibited from driving for a set period so could look forward to getting 'back to normal', within months. But I empathise with those folk impacted by loss of employment and financial hardship as a result of a revoked licence. And because the DVLA's system isn't foolproof there will be misjudgements applied to both 'fit' and 'unfit' drivers.

It's a fine balance between feeling OK to drive and admitting to certain failings, as everyone has off days whether from tiredness, minor illness, worry etc. But after serious illness, especially concerning the brain, it's a matter of conscience whether we truly feel competent and 100% responsive behind the wheel in increasingly congested and chaotic traffic.

I tend to walk or take a tram wherever possible, mostly for exercise, but being retired I now have the freedom to take my time, unlike the days of having to be several places in one day and on-time. But I'll drive to medical appointments or when collecting someone else for one and when moving/collecting heavy articles. And there are rare times when my pain levels are too great for walking but I have to be somewhere, so drive.

We can only hope that drivers are conscientious enough to consider the safety of others, as well as their own, although judging from the idiotic and inexplicable antics of some, I won't hold my breath.

I hope you enjoy the freedom of a scooter (must admit to feeling envious when one scoots by as I'm panting up the railway bridge with bags of shopping). Take care m'dear..... x

Artistherapy in reply to cat3

Thank you for you reply to my post. It was a very interesting to read your replies. I have had to read it a few times and it is beautifully written.

My pleasure. I do not remember...lol. thank you for being so kind.

Hi Artistherapy

My thoughts also. I have even been asked by cosultants and GPs why i no longer drive.

But, i could not in all conscience do it.

I have too many days when it is difficult enough when walking along a road and people pass me. The confusion that does to my brain is very difficult to explain. But at walking speed i can manage it. How on earth i would be able to deal with it at speed.

I have the occasional day when it all slots into place and i get a few hours of normality so i am ever hopeful that the hose occasions become more frequentso, i never say never. But we are at 7+ years now and im approaching 70 more quickly now, it seems that way anyway.

Good luck.

Janet x

Artistherapy in reply to Kirk5w7

Thank you for your reply and honesty.

Janet's reply is a perfect example of how our issues differ. I choose to walk for exercise (and practice) but find I'm really off balance and can veer into passers-by (embarrassing) but the balance problem simply isn't there when driving. Our issues are so complex and with such subtle variations ; it's no wonder we confound the doctors.

It's different with cycling because all that's required from the feet is pushing the pedals ; balance isn't affected so I could ride for miles if only the traffic wasn't such a nightmare......when I get a rare chance it's the most liberating feeling and the nearest thing to flying ! x

RogerCMerriman in reply to cat3

Like wise I find walking much more costively challenging for myself its due to a foo bar Vestibular System. unlike cycling which from the get go I could do if slowly!

I do find driving fine but tiring though depends on what happens the worse is motorways in the dark/rain that uses up spoons at a rate.

I am quite used to buses now so don't find them as hard work as before, plus the physios work!

Kirk5w7 in reply to cat3

Absolutely Cat, the thought of cycling scares me half to death. I havent tried, but i cant look behind me when walking without stopping first or my balance and direction i am walking then veers dreadfully. Thats why driving would be better i see that, maybe just maybe !

Artistherapy in reply to cat3

Unfortunately i have physical disabilities as well. I am so isolated that we may well move for nearer things like leisure centre and coffee shops etc. My scooter journeys are only short and i have to let my wife know where I am. I often stop to guage where I am.

I have a recumbent bike and i hope to get out on it when/if we move. It is wonderfully liberating but far too hilly and nothing local to me to use it.

I like the non-confrontational nature of the replies above - well done guys.

Personally I do drive and feel I am safer on the roads than some other road users despite my BI. I rely on my car to get to/ from work and to take my daughter to school in the mornings. Both journeys are just too far from where I live to manage by walking. And I don't cycle, having lost my confidence (due to balance) in that some years ago. I completely understand where Artistherapy is coming from and applaud anyone who gives up driving if they are worried. I do sometimes think about how much healthier it would be not to drive. But the buses here aren't great and I just can't imagine being able to get about in time.

Artistherapy in reply to lcd8

Thank you for your reply. I understand your needs and it is all about the ability to drive and feeling safe. Honesty to ourselves I guess?!

The loss of driving is immense and there are no things in place to help us should it happen. It is all on us or our loved ones.

Like yourself take it away and what do you do? It is simple to take it away but not to then offer the alternatives.

I guess this is what i was trying to say in my post.

I also agree that the standard of driving is appalling. Every time i am in the car we are in horror at peoples ability to drive, they could be feeling well and nothing wrong at all, but I could drive better than most in the state I am in.

Honesty again.

I chose never to drive after the binman driver who crashed in Glasgow killing and maiming so many, after not declaring his illness. How he lives with himself is beyond me.

Anyway thank you for being kind in your response I am sure you know what I am trying to say.

Take care of yourself.

Hi haven't posted for a while I can relate to you i lost my licence in 2017 because of brain tumour and subsequent infection had skull rebuilt last June.Recieved my licence back christmas 2018.But now have had my licence taken again due to now being diagnosed with seizures.

Sorry to hear this.

Have you had any offer of help from anyone for the loss of not driving?

I have investigated some things like the bus if yiu need help or what I have found.

I also wear a MECS watch if I fall. Etc.

I only drive locally, 10 miles tops where I need to go. I tried a wee bit further but got completely overwhelmed. For my own safety and others, on longer journeys bus or train.

Thanks for your reply. I used to years ago too but I almost crashed and that was it for me. I and the other car were only saved when my car beeped to warn me. I avoided the head on collision forunately but that was that.


I feel very similar to you. My NS encourages me to drive, but he really doesn't seem to get why I feel that would be potentially unsafe. I think that it's a measure of success in how many hydrocephalus patients he can return to near normal lives. As normal as possible and driving again is a big part of that. From the perspective of inside my head it's really hilarious that anyone could think I could. Don't get me wrong I really crave being as independent as possible. I used to ride huge 1200cc motorcycles and dream of doing that again one day or even 125cc ones, though dream is the right word for that fantasy. Though I'm really glad I did that when I could and take some satisfaction from that. Unlike injuries elsewhere on the body, brain injuries don't tend to heal over time, so I can't see why things should get better over time in that regard. That said I count my blessings, my wife drives us all and enjoys doing that apart from not being able to drink when we go to a party. But I'll treat us all to a taxi to give her a break sometimes, especially on her birthday :o). Worth knowing if you have a driving licence and can no longer due to an injury or illness then you local authority will give you a bus pass for free. It does give you your independence back of a sort. Every cloud has a silver lining!


Artistherapy in reply to Avro

Thank you for your reply.

About a year ago i was craving the need to get out of the house so we had a mobilty scooter bought for us from my parents.

I still drive them now and there is no way on this planet i could drive a car. I often pull over and stop as I sense when i am going off.

I think what has been said in the feed is really interesting and we are all different.

With other major injuries and operations I have reacted differently, so why not my brain.

I have a buss pass but the nearest stop is far away from my house. I have tried doing it with my scooter and it made me paranoid.

We may well be moving so hopefully our next place is a more considered choice by us with regards to things closer.

Good luck and thanks again.

Artistherapy in reply to Avro

I hear satisfaction in your response. It is the feeling of safety. If you feel safe drive but if not do not exactly what you are doing.

I have a bus pass but never use it as I am vulnerable on my own. I get lost and confused. I only stay local at the moment. We are due to move into the hub of a bustling town soon, so lots of people will get to know me and if I do things, who I am etc. they can see me right.

I have a headway card with my issues on it. My daffodil lanyard with issues on it and a Medi-read bracelet with all my ailments on it. The more I feel safe the better otherwise I just return to reclusive.

Good luck to you.

I refuse to drive in Europe. Too much trams, lines (confusing), just to much for my brain to figure out. Folk clueless about why. But I say I'm saving lives!

You are doing the right thing from my opinion. Could you imagine if you seriously injured yourself or others or worse? Living with that must be hell and with an already messed up brain must destroy confidence even more.

Driving is such a hard one to call as we are all different, but the consequences if something went wrong does not sit well with me!

Quite Happy on trains & trams. people watching, looking at window cats :)

My husband sustained TBI march 2020, understand next 6-12mths no driving, so in say 8mths things improve (wishful thinking, but staying positive) how do we go about it. Do we contact GP, do we fill in forms for DVLA, is there a retest. Sorry for the questions, my positivity may not become realistic but just wondering how it occurs. He may not want to drive, i dont know but if hes does and feels ready how does it happen (UK)

He needs to make an appointment with his GP and say it’s for taking up driving again after the brain injury. They give you half an hour appointment and it’s like an interview. Then you will need to inform the DVLA, because he had medical change.

I’ve lost it now, yes I remember he drives a car with RADC and they assess him.

I’ve done it six months ago, I passed but I’m stalling on beginning to drive because like he said I have brain so slow and can’t really handle it on the road.

I might just stick to my wheelchair scooter. I know that driving would give me independence and freedom, but I don’t really go out on my own and I think it be too much for me with all the decisions and the busyness.

Good luck with the driving and Arttherapist I think it’s definitely down to personal feeling and you have to be confident you can drive and be it in a way that won’t stress you for the day. It’s such a tough call and I think I will make the same decision not to drive again.

Everyone feels different. Some are lucky and have no issues and it is always the persons own feelings towards it. I can just about handle my scooter and drifting off to planet zog.

When out on your scooter still give yourself well earned breaks. Stop and take in the scenery to give your brain a break.

I can only go to places I know that I can get there and back from. I stop halfway looking out over the fields!

Good luck to you.

Thank you artistherapy and I will take time to look at the scenery.

I only go places I know and I get my support worker to walk there with me. I actually haven’t done many on my own. But I like the feeling of freedom it gives me and it’s still me who got myself there. So I feel kind of independent

What is a support worker? Is it like a buddy?

No it’s a carer, they help me in my house and to live independently

I see. Excellent!

It defo is all about your feelings but I have had many other messages in other forms reporting that people do not feel right driving but the Gp says they are ok. I think the GP'S just do not want their patients to be reclusive and lose their independence which is understandable.

Yes that’s true and they want you to go out if you can

You need to contact the DVLA and declare the issues, you are risking a fine if anything happens etc. They put a temporary ban on until you can provide evidence he is safe to drive. They are good about it and will re-issue the licence in quick time.

Is this stated as a voluntary with DVLA, Ive yet to contact them,

I think it is compulsory that you need to contact DVLA now! There is guidance on the gov. website.

I surrendered mine voluntarily 5 years ago!

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